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Trek X-Caliber Review

Some mountain bikes can overcomplicate things with all their bells and whistles, but Trek’s X-Caliber range is designed as a back to basics alternative to convoluted hardtails. Each of these 29ers is still a technologically advanced, performance-oriented cycle while managing to keep things fun on the trail.

Trek X-Caliber 4

The Alpha Gold Aluminium frame of the X-Caliber 4 uses Trek’s G2 geometry and a custom fork setup that offsets it slightly to boost handling precision and maintain lateral stiffness.

The 29 inch wheels make it easier to tackle big obstacles and sustain a decent momentum over the rough stuff, with Bontrager XR1 tyres included for added grip. An SR Suntour M-3030 fork with 75mm of travel sits up front and Shimano Altus components comprise much of the drivetrain.

HL 280 mechanical disc brakes let you get the big wheels under control and comfort is afforded by the Bontrager Evoke 1 saddle.

Trek X-Caliber 4 Specifications 2014
Front Derailleur:Shimano AltusFront Fork:SR Suntour M-3030
Rear Derailleur:Shimano AltusRear Shock:N/A
Shifters:Shimano AltusBrakes:HL 250 mechanical discs
Gears:8 speedRims:Bontrager AT-550
Chainring:42/34/24Tyres:Bontrager XR1

Trek X-Caliber 5

The RST Blaze fork on this model increases the travel to 100mm for added compliance that will smooth out jarring hits. Rims are slightly upgraded to Bontrager AT-650, with a double walled design that improves resilience.

A Shimano M171 crank and Acera rear derailleur makes the drivetrain a little more appealing, while Tektro is responsible for the HDC 300 mechanical disc brakes.

Trek X-Caliber 5 Specifications 2014
Front Derailleur:Shimano AltusFront Fork:RST Blaze T
Rear Derailleur:Shimano AceraRear Shock:N/A
Shifters:Shimano AltusBrakes:Tektro HDC 300 hydraulic disc
Gears:8 speedRims:Bontrager AT-650
Chainring:42/34/24Tyres:Bontrager XR1

Trek X-Caliber 7

Another fork change is implemented here, with an SR Suntour XCR suspension setup retaining the 100mm of travel but delivering it with a little more subtlety.

The X-Caliber 7 has a drivetrain that is almost entirely made up of Shimano Acera kit. The Shimano M395 brakes not only use discs, but are also hydraulically operated, which has several advantages over the more basic mechanical models.

Trek X-Caliber 7 Specifications 2014
Front Derailleur:Shimano AltusFront Fork:SR Suntour XCR
Rear Derailleur:Shimano AceraRear Shock:N/A
Shifters:Shimano AceraBrakes:Shimano M395 hydraulic disc
Gears:9 speedRims:Bontrager AT-650
Chainring:42/32/22Tyres:Bontrager XR1

Trek X-Caliber 8

The SR Suntour XCR-RL fork introduces remote lockout capabilities to the X-Caliber 8, while retaining the 51mm offset setup that is preferred by Trek on this range, along with the custom G2 geometry.

The drivetrain mixes Shimano SLX and Deore components together in an attractive and affordable blend, while the wide range of frame sizes give riders of all builds the opportunity to experience this type of mountain bike.

Trek X-Caliber 8 Specifications 2014
Front Derailleur:Shimano DeoreFront Fork:SR Suntour XCR-RL
Rear Derailleur:Shimano SLXRear Shock:N/A
Shifters:Shimano DeoreBrakes:Shimano M395
Gears:10 speedRims:Bontrager AT-650
Chainring:42/32/24Tyres:Bontrager XR1

Trek X-Caliber 9

With mechanically formed and butted tubing, the aluminium frame of the X-Caliber 9 is tuned for racing, which is a benefit even if you are not thinking about competing seriously.

The RockShox XC32 fork has TurnKey lockout capabilities and uses Solo Air spring technology. This lets riders push hard on the ascents without the bike becoming saggy and hard to manage, while softening things up for descents when lumps and bumps are amplified by the force of gravity.

Shimano Deore shifters and derailleurs are featured, along with M445 hydraulic disc brakes from this same manufacturer. The Bontrager Evoke 1.5 saddle is a little lighter and tougher than those found on the cheaper bikes in this range and although each bike emphasises value, there is never a sense that any model is missing something, so riders who want to expand their skill set will be in a good position to do so.

Trek X-Caliber 9 Specifications 2014
Front Derailleur:Shimano DeoreFront Fork:RockShox XC32 100mm travel
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Deore XTRear Shock:N/A
Shifters:Shimano DeoreBrakes:Shimano M445 hydraulic discs
Gears:10 speedRims:Bontrager AT-850
Chainring:40/30/22Tyres:Bontrager XR1